The Nature of Christian Hope
- I Peter 1:3-4 –
“In His great mercy God has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.”
- Hebrews 6:18-19
“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”
- I Peter 1:13
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”
- Colossians 3:1-2
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”
- Philippians 3:19-21
In contrast with those “who set their minds on earthly things…. our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
3. Hope is a calling
- Romans 12:12
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
- Psalm 42:5, 11
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,”
4. The prayers for hope
- Romans 15:13
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
- Ephesians 1:16-19
“I do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”
5. The certainty of hope
- The hope of the believer is not wishful thinking but confident expectation; not based on probability, but on certainty. Not only a blessing in this life, but assurance of greater life in eternity (Romans 8:18).
- Hope flourishes where there is belief in the living God who acts and intervenes in human life and who can be trusted to keep his promises.
6. The reach of hope
- I Corinthians 15:19
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
This life? Is there another one? Yes, resurrected life! If you just know Jesus so that you can have a better day or week or earthly life, pity you! The focus of hope is so much more!
- Colossians 1:4-5
“because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel”
- Colossians 1:27
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.
- Titus 2:13-14
“….waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us…”
7. The development of hope
- Romans 5:2-5
“Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
- Romans 8:24-25
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
8. The purifying effect of hope
- I John 3:2-3
“we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”
9. The witness of hope
- I Peter 3:14-15
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”
10. A loss of hope
- Loss of hope involves a loss of perspective resulting from a loss of focus.
- When we disconnect our ambitions, values and priorities from eternity, we lose focus and perspective. Hope (of the kind found in Scripture) traces a clear line from your life to:
- the fame of God’s Name,
- the coming of God’s Kingdom and
- the doing of God’s Will — on earth as it is in heaven?
- Hope is typically transferred to another source when no longer focused on eternity
- Jeremiah 17:5-8
“This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.”
- The remedy for a loss or transfer of hope is found in these verses:
- II Corinthians 4:16-18
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”